Scott Kirsner brings word of SpeedCine, a search engine for movies online that are legally available.
But when I started punching in the names of some movies that were listed on sites like Hulu or iTunes, and got a “no matches found” message, I e-mailed founder Reid Rosefelt to see what was up. Were they adding movie titles by hand, or finding all the movies automatically on various movie sites, the way Google finds Web pages for its search engine?
Rosefelt replied in an e-mail: “It’s a demo and yes, the data was put in by hand.”
I’m not sure you actually need permission from Hulu, say, to have your software go to this page and create links to all of the features the site currently offers. That’s the sort of “spidering” that Google and many other search engines do every day.
And if you just want a list of free movies online that’s been entered by hand, I wrote about Movies Found Online last August. Plus Archive.org has a bunch of public domain stuff.
I agree it would be nice if there was a reliable one-stop place to find links to movies that are freely available. The problem is, right now those places are either the torrents or YouTube, with its abundance of movies posted, in full, illegally.
The best so far is Netflix, which has a wide if far-from-complete selection of movies available for instant streaming right to your tv from a number of devices, be it a Roku box, and Xbox or a Mac Mini you’ve customized. The problem is, the big media companies don’t want to put their whole libraries out there until they can be sure they are making money. The libraries already make them tons in DVD sales (or used to).
That makes it impossible for any one place to aggregate all the movies, except illegally. As usual, their dithering is encouraging piracy. Your average Joe doesn’t care if the movie he wants to watch is from the MGM library or Paramount or Strand releasing. He just wants one place where he can find it, and watch it.